Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Updates

Paul's health and jobs- His back is much better! He is considering cancelling his appointment with the orthopedic specialist. He is working UPS every day on the preload and delivering second day air packages.
ALSO, He spoke with his boss at U-Haul and he is going to try to work there 10 hours or so a week. That works for them and for us.

Transportation - we bought a used Ford 12-passenger van. It is air conditioned! We can travel in a reliable vehicle now!

Food - I tried to buy cheap meat... I tried to buy cheap foods... I just can't do it. Cheap beef makes my kids STINK!!! Their body odor and waste smells terrible when we eat cheap beef. AND I keep seeing all of these little girls younger than Becca all filled out and I just CANNOT do it! I cannot feed my kids cheap beef/meat. I will continue to buy local, pasture-raised poultry, and grass-fed, grass-finished beef. We will go back to eating only one to two pounds of beef a week and I am very happy with that! (We do eat some cheap foods at potluck and such, but once a week is not too bad. I can live with that.)
ALSO in the food subject - I joined a "buying club" with UNFI about three months ago. I am able to order organic (or non-organic) foods/ingredients at a good rate. I recommend finding a co-op or buying club in your area. I think it is fun! I enjoy the work of unloading the truck and sorting orders. I am usually the last one to leave... It's fun. If you are in my area, let my get you hooked up with my club (pick up is in Columbia), because more orders = more savings.

School - You know how your kids usually know more in any given subject than their current book actually reflects? (Please tell me that I am not the only one...) Well, Rebecca's math book is WAY below her actual level and I need to amend that. We usually spend more time on real-life applications than the written exercises. I see more value in the real-life applications, but I also see that I need to have the right book on hand too. I will get the right book in time. No hurry though... I have no doubt that she is learning!

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why We Don't Send out Family Photos (HUMOR)

If you give a mama a camera, 
chances are she will want to take a picture of her kids.
So, she will wash off the peanut butter, jelly, syrup and whatever else is on the two year old. 
Then, she will want to dress the kids in "good" clothes.
At this point, the four year old will announce that he has not had clean underwear since Sunday. 
The eight year old will have trouble finding any pants without holes in them.
After these crises are averted Mama will go upstairs to get the camera.
Chances are, the camera is missing. 
After looking for the camera for an hour, she finds it under the toddler's crib. 
Upon rejoicing over the lost camera, Mama discovers that the battery is dead. 
Mama has to recharge the camera for two hours. 
Just before lunch, and before the baby gets more food in his hair, Mama will want to try to get a picture. 
Now that the camera is charged, the display shows that the memory is full.
Mama thinks that it will take just a couple of minutes to empty off the hundreds of pictures taken of walls and toilets that were taken in the previous days. 
But, chances are, when Mama plugs in the camera the children will want to watch the videos the made the day before. 
Mama will be stuck watching this nonsense for an hour before everyone announces that they are dying of starvation. 
So, mama will make lunch.
Chances are, the baby will get mashed potatoes in his hair
 and will need another bath. 
After his bath, the baby is rubbing his eyes 
and Mama will decide to try again later.
Chances are - when the baby and toddler are awake from their naps Mama will want to dress them up again in good clothes. 
At this point, Mama will go grab the camera before they 
can get into anything else. 
When Mama gets to the place where she left her camera chances are
it will be gone. 
The children used it to make new videos during nap time.

This, my friends, is why we rarely send out family photos.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Canning Season

Instead of canning with jars I am experimenting with freezing my produce this year. I do realize that this is not a "sustainable" solution... but for this season of my life I am okay with that.

I did check out a few helpful books at the library on home preserving (including freezing), but I would not have attempted this method were it not for MamaHen. She makes it look so easy that I had to try it myself! (MamaHen, you are an inspiration!)

So, I have been "dicing" my tomatoes in the food processor and dumping them into bags. That's it! I am growing 3 types of tomatoes this year but in the end I am mixing them together. I think it will be like the philosophy I use with apples - using different varieties together improves flavor.

We also put up corn for the first time ever! Paul did the entirety of this task because my hands were too cramped up. I cut the first ear or two, but he did a few dozen! I am a little surprised at how little corn you actually get from one year! No wonder my kids need 2-3 ears per meal. Anyway, if I can get my hands on more corn I will try to put up more. Five dozen ears did not amount to much. MamaHen, is there a formula to this? Like so many ears per bag? Or so many cups per ear? Or, do you just wing it? We just eyeballed it.

We did not get to the peaches y-day. We plan to put them up (freeze them) today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Odds and Ends

First of all, before I forget, our summer meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere are this coming week and in August.

Secondly, Paul has been to UPS each day this week. But, the pain is getting worse in his hip each day. Monday afternoon he went to his chiropractor who believes that the lymph node swelling was/is due to damage/injury in the spine. The chiro is supposed to be setting up an appointment for Paul to see an orthopedic doc soon and get an MRI done. (No news yet on when...)
PAUL QUIT his U-Haul job. The Lord has used all of these troubles to show Paul that he was overworking himself. He will miss the mechanic work. (He cannot physically work 12 hours a day right now... much as he wants to...) We are praying for wisdom for where to acquire our necessary income.

On parenting - Let me tell you, friends, parenting ain't for sissies!!! 'Nuff said.

On gardening - I echo the previous sentiments - it ain't for sissies. Sweat dripping into your eyes. Arms itching from the contact with tomato plants. Pet dogs who destroy your crops when you are not looking... and sometimes when you are. The tomatoes you do not lose to the dog are lost to drought and/or blossom end rot. Chiggers. Coming in from the heat shaking - on the verge of passing out... Gardening a large plot is not to be entered into lightly! Do not do it unless your family is well!

On animals - I mentioned a few weeks ago that we would be building livestock housing. Well, that did not go exactly as planned... nothing ever does. I did build 2 rabbit cages with the children. And, we did get a baby mini rex. We got the rabbit free. We were supposed to get two, but the other boy bunny was overheated and I was afraid he would die that night and break my kids' hearts. Anyway, we got the rabbit for its manure - thought it would help our garden. BUT, this particular rabbit came from an air conditioned house. It has been pampered in my garage for two weeks. We have now realized that it is impossible to keep Bunny's water cool in summer. And HOW ON EARTH will we keep it from freezing in the winter? I do NOT want an indoor bunny. So, we might have to give the little guy back. But, he is terribly cute and cuddly.
ALSO - we were planning to get a feeder pig just a few weeks ago... but Paul's sickness came on. I realized in a hurry that I would not be able to take care of a pig by myself. The whole decision making process was an emotional roller coaster. But, in the end, it is obvious that a pig which gets fattened up to 250 pounds, is not for us right now...

School - Joshua (who is five now) wrote "Mom" yesterday. Yep... that was pretty big.

On appliances - HOORAY! Cuisinart sent me a brand new mixer to replace the one that "took up smoking." It took a while for Paul and I to scrape together the $30 to ship our old one back. But, the turn around time was very quick!

Not all appliances come with such a lovely warranty and customer service... my Jay Kordich juicer which broke after only 2 months of use!, has not been fixed. Their customer service stinks! DO NOT buy a Jay Kordich juicer!!! (I will stand behind the health benefits of juicing 100% - talk to your doctor first - but NOT with THIS juicer!)

Next post - how will I ever find the energy to put up gallons and gallons of tomatoes, 4 dozen ears of sweet corn that I bought from a local farm - and I was "lucky" to come by it at that - there is a drought here y'all!, 1/2 bushel of peaches from a local farm, potatoes from my garden (if they are not already rotten), and more... Um, yeah, it will take a miracle! Honestly, I am actually grateful that the dog ate my green beans! With all of our sicknesses this season I would not have been able to get to them anyway. Come to think of it, she has saved me a lot of work overall... All the same she is one melon away from the pound.

OH- and we do not have A/C in either of our vehicles. We are praying for wisdom and another miracle. (And, yes, we already tried the $30 can of "recharge" at the auto parts store. Did not work.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Update to Paul's Health

Paul was able to return to work at UPS today. He did not go to work at U-Haul. The swelling in his lymph nodes was down significantly yesterday. I would not say that he is well or healed. But he is better.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Paul's health

After 6-8 weeks of GI sickness my stomach calmed down...

Then  my back was out for two weeks, with one of those weeks on complete bedrest (with Paul at work!)...

Then I went to the chiropractor and got back on my feet. Slowly and steadily getting back to my full range of motion.

THEN this past Sunday Paul woke up with a little "knot" in his groin area. It was uncomfortable, but he went about his day. No strenuous labor or anything. Just normal Sunday activities.

By Monday the area was swollen to the size of a child's fist and angry red. Paul could hardly walk to the phone in the other room to call into work. Monday morning I took him to ER. We assumed that he had a hernia. The triage nurse thought it was a hernia. And, after waiting in the waiting room for 4 hours the doctor said it looked like a hernia. But, he wanted an ultrasound to make sure.

The ultrasound showed the lump is NOT a hernia. It was one swollen lymph node. They assumed that it was/is caused by infection and sent him home with painkillers and antibiotics.

The next day Paul was still miserable and made an appointment with his primary care physician. That doctor took some blood to see if we could get to the root cause. The blood count shows that Paul's white blood cell count is NOT elevated... it is at the low end of normal. He is not battling a bacterial infection. The doctor was/is pretty certain that the blood tests show we are not dealing with cancer/lymphoma.

But, Paul is not better. He is still swollen. He still cannot do even light duty work around the house. (He cannot hold my 15 pound baby.) He has now missed a whole week of UPS and U-Haul. The primary care doc does not want to see him again... said that he thinks Paul will be well soon. Paul had to practically beg for another work release.

Paul cannot receive any kind of disability from UPS unless he can show there has been a work-related injury. At this point we don't even know there is an injury. We know nothing!!! I am stretched beyond the limits of my own sickness here! Paul and I have talked about me getting a job, but obviously that would not be a good short-term solution. Most jobs don't pay for a few weeks. And, hopefully by then he will be back to work.

Friends, I am at a loss here... I feel a bit like I am drowing... Please pray that I will keep clinging to my Strong Tower - The Lord. Comments are disabled. You can call or email me if you want to talk or pray with me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Morning Freshness

I woke up surprisingly early this morning and my first thought was to get outside! Yesterday we had a cool front come through AND RAIN! We all praise God for rain and ask Him to please send more soon!

This morning I enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the morning dew! Click on any photo to being up the enlargements page.

Sunflowers at full height 6-8 feet tall. 
The dark blob in front of one of the middle heads it is a humming bird.

I did not plant this watermelon.
It showed up as a volunteer a few weeks after I planted my garden.
The original "seed leaves" were unidentifiable. 
But when I recognized the watermelon leaves I decided not to "weed it out," but to let it grow.
I took this picture to show the dew on the grass!!! Dew, friends, we had a dew!!! 

Before sunrise.

Baby cantaloupe. 
Already the size of a softball.

Bean Trellis. I put cardboard underneath to prevent weed growth. 

My happy little garden.
The bare spots were lettuce and potatoes that have been harvested.
We will manure those areas just as soon as I can wield a shovel again.
We will replant for a fall garden very soon!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It's too hot to write...

I am SO glad that we have an air conditioner!!! Our temperatures have been soaring for well over a week now, and I am melting....melting...melting.

We have had some back aches in the house this week, but no sickness. Paul and I are both hobbling around and neither one of us can comfortably get baby out of his crib or into it.

Anyway, it has been a hard week. Not much of anything has gotten done. It never ceases to amaze me that kids will set up a play restaurant in the basement and play all day... while the real-life kitchen and dining room are a wreck. Can someone explain this phenomenon to me?

Garden update:
- squash bugs are destroying my zucchini plants again this year! My arch nemeses! We are trying as many organic repellents as we can. But, we are careful because I LOVE honeybees. And, so many organic repellents/killers will hurt bees.
- even though we started seeds indoors and had tomato plants out early, we have not yet gotten one silly tomato!!! I thought that the deer were eating them while they were still green. I got on my hands and knees and investigated all my plants. NO caterpillars, nothing. Someone was just eating the tomatoes. And, then I realized that the plants were close together and that a deer could not navigate that without damaging the rows of tomatoes. So, then I decided it was raccoons. I ruled out rabbits, because no leaves were touched at all.
Well, last Saturday I was watering the garden and our dog, Daisy, went and grabbed a green Roma. I was so mad that I sprayed her with the hose. And, as soon as we could we put a fence up around my tomatoes! It is not pretty, but it keeps the dog out.

We did not start our new school year yet. Back pains put a stop to everything! A friend sent us Latina Christiana I, so I am going to try that with Rebecca and see how she does.

Other than that... I am just trying to stay cool! We midwesterners are not used to 100degree temperatures for weeks at a time. I think I might be acclimating, but it is a slow process. And, I have NO intention of turning off the AC anytime soon.

I will put up some pictures when I find the camera...